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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 9 Hansard (18 September) . .

Page.. 2928..


Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to:

That the time allotted to Executive Members' business be extended by 30 minutes.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health, Minister for Higher Education and Minister for Regional Development) (12.05): I want to talk briefly on the amendment and on the response from Mr Hanson where he is seeking that, in any letter to the commonwealth, an indication be given of the vote. I think it would be more than reasonable to put in writing that opposition members did not support the Canberra community being treated equally with constituents in other jurisdictions. That is the actual debate we are having today—whether or not this legislature should have the ability to discuss, debate and pass this legislation relating to euthanasia in this legislature, just as other state legislatures are able to. If that is what Mr Hanson would like, I would draw special attention to the fact that the Canberra Liberals would not stand up for Canberrans being treated fairly with other Australians around the country. I would be more than happy to do so.

In terms of responding to Mr Hanson's earlier speech, I think we in this place are used to having a whole range of accusations and allegations raised against us. I think the one in this speech was that I was disingenuous in saying that this was a territory rights matter. I cannot sit here and just accept that allegation without responding to it. This very much is a territory rights matter. The issue of whether or not euthanasia legislation came to this parliament, if we were allowed to, and the matter would be debated, is not a foregone conclusion by any means.

I do not think that my supporting this motion should be read in any way as indicating that I would support euthanasia legislation should it come to this parliament.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.07): Just very briefly, I would like to indicate my support for Mr Corbell's amendment. Hopefully, members took from both the tenor and the content of my speech that I did not seek to presuppose the issue; I certainly had not read the text that way. Mr Corbell raises this; I am very comfortable with that amendment—that it more accurately reflects the discussion I believe we are having.

Amendment agreed to.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.07): Just to close the debate, I thank members for the discussion today. I welcome the comments from both the Chief Minister and Mr Corbell, which I thought were both supportive of the motion and also reflective of some very thoughtful comments about what is a difficult issue.

In Mr Hanson's remarks, I think he was accurately reflecting that. The Greens have made no secret about our position; I was very up-front about it. I do think, nonetheless, that the two issues are separate. Clearly, there is a tactical advantage, for those who oppose euthanasia, in maintaining this power, but I actually think that is a different issue.


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